"Giving Tuesday"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I've gotten dozens of pitches for donations from various nonprofits today, on the theory that today (following Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday) is supposedly Giving Tuesday.

Is it really effective, though, for groups to send out their pitches on the same day that lots of other groups are doing it? Wouldn't it make more sense for each to try to do it on some day when it doesn't think the targets are already being asked by lots of other groups? I might well be missing something here—this isn't my field of expertise, and it is the fundraisers' field of expertise—so I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this.

 

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  1. Coordinated sales pitches is basically how we got Valentines day. If enough people synchronize on a date, it may even get “approval” from a public authority like the White House, eventually.

    1. and “restaurant week” and “Small Business Week” and “sales tax exemption week” and all the other coordinated attacks on your wallet perpetrated by lobbyists and businesses.

      1. Seeing a local restaurant week as a ‘coordinated attack on your wallet’ sounds like a sad way to live. Do you hate homecoming, Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day, too?

        1. Valentine’s Day is of the Devil. Its acronym is VD.

          1. No one has called them VD’s since like the 70’s…

            1. Duh, the Valentine’s Day lobby saw to that.

        2. Valentine’s Day was pushed by flower and card companies.

          Christmas by religion, which, if you are a cynic, serves the priest and politicians by binding masses’ behavior, that they sit atop.

          Modern Halloween has features of both.

        3. You can buy a sense of humor on Amazon, free delivery by Thursday with prime. Some day soon, I think Amazon will deliver so fast you can go back in time with your new found sense of humor and re-read comments.

      2. You’ve hit the big time when you get a whole month.

    2. I think Giving Tuesday harkens back to an age when some employers gave Christmas or end-of-year bonuses; therefore, charities think people have more money available for giving to their special cause. Sorry, but that age is long past and unless people “save” for Christmas spending, they run up gift expenses on their credit cards. Most people have no more money in December than they do any other month, and some have less money at the end of the year.
      Call me Scrooge if you will, but Giving Tuesday is becoming just as commercialized as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the fund raising methods used to separate money from people is no better.
      BTW, I do give regularly to my local church. Any other appeals go quickly through the shredder or into the bit bucket via the delete button.

      1. How much of your church’s spending is associated with genuine charity (food, shelter, and medicine for the poor, for example), and how much funds weekly entertainment for the faithful?

        1. You hate religion and churches so why would you care?

          1. I dislike freeloaders and scams related to charity.

            1. I dislike your posts and they don’t go away either. ????

              1. You seem destined to dislike America’s future.

                1. If you want a vision of the future, imagine a retard posting on the Internet – forever.

            2. I like Reverend Arthur L Kuckland much better than you.

          2. Absolutely unfair shot, Jimmy. Art’s question is a fair one indeed.

            1. No, it’s a bs question starting from a false premise. The purpose of a church or mosque or synagogue is to save individual souls, not provide earthly charity, that comes 2nd or 3rd after making a good community of the faithful.

              1. Is it possible to segregate those purposes? Even if _arguendo_ the “purpose … is to … make… a good community of the faithful”, service to others is an integral part of being such a community – at least for the three religions that are the Children of Abraham.

                In response to ALK’s snide comment, while I cannot testify for any other congregations, synagogues, or mosques, I can, as the Treasurer of my Presbyterian congregation, attest that a substantial portion of its receipts are disbursed for various charitable and beneficial purposes.

                1. Yes, service to others is integral to the purpose of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. And it’s not a bad thing at all that lots donations of money, labor and time go to charity from churches. The world is a much better place because of it.

                  But charity is not the purpose of any institution set up under these three religions, that’s putting the cart before the horse, charity comes because you want to save your soul and other’s souls, and that requires a church to say what to do to save a soul. If Rev’s question were taken seriously, then he would be correct to complain about what he would call “overhead” in religious services and spaghetti dinners. And if he’s so concerned, he could donate to a secular charity.

                  1. With your explication, I concur.

                    [And as an aside, I would confidentially venture that the “overhead” of sacred institutions and secular charities is a Heckuva lot less than that of “Governmental Charities”, not even considering the social and philosophical benefits accruing from the former as opposed to the latter.]

                    1. Thanks, and I wholeheartedly concur with your bracketed aside.

      2. I don’t think this is correct and I’d be interested in seeing OJ’s evidence.

        Rather, Giving Tuesday (created in 2012) is simply Big Charity’s attempt to get itself into the sequence of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. People do not necessarily have more money at the end of the year. Rather, they are planning to spend on those particular days.

        Giving Tuesday can’t become commercialized; it’s been essentially commercial all along.

  2. I used to do data management and analytics in support of fundraising at a major university. I can’t speak to well a nation-wide Giving Tuesday will work, although I did get an appeal from my university just a few minutes ago. But I can speak about “day of giving” programs which have become common among universities.

    In the old days, a university’s annual solicitation was largely build around direct mail and student phone calls. Today they’re built around email and web. In the early days of email, there might have been a lot of volume, pretty much randomly broadcast, and it would land in junk folders. Now there’s much more coordination and strategy.
    And “Day of Giving” programs seem to work. A big part of the effort is that there are lots of small initiatives, many of them created by student groups, with dollar target amounts. Basically it’s a barrel of GoFundMe proposals, with Goals of $5000, $10,000, $15,000. So, rather than the old fashioned Annual Fund appeal, which asked you to give $100 or $250, or as much as you could, to the Dean’s discretionary fund, here you can choose exactly which project you’re funding.

    The email I just got had a link to a web page with several hundred projects I could give to, the main web page then allowing click thru’s to more detailed descriptions. And having some hype around ‘this is the day to give’ and you can see the progress — that seems to work.

    As I said, I don’t know how well the the nationwide hype will work, where every charity is competing for your last dollar. In my case, I’ve already given a significant gift to my university, and I’m not move to throw anything more today.

    1. My alma mater has a very successful Giving Tuesday campaign. The money raised is relatively small compared to the annual fundraising, but the purpose is to increase the number of people who donate. (US News and World Reports ranks colleges in part on the percentage of alumni who donate, and dollar value does not matter). In that spirit, there are a lot of “challenges” to unlock that have to do with the number of donors on Giving Tuesday, rather than the total amount donated.

      It’s been very, very effective at getting people to donate an average of about $20 each. I think something like 15% of alumni gave on Tuesday.

  3. I always figured charitable solicitations were timed to arrive during United Way designation periods.

  4. Charities ask for a lot of donations at the end of the year. I assume it is on the theory that people are starting to think about taxes so will increase their deductions by giving to charities.

    If this is the case it would be interesting to see if there are any changes starting in 2018 vs earlier years since the number of people itemizing deductions has (I assume) decreased significantly.

    1. Good points there. But if you see my comment above on college “Day of Giving” programs, they are done any time during the year. I think ours is in March. And since they are mostly looking for fairly small contributions, including from the students themselves, they aren’t so much tax-centric in the appeal. On the other hand, any day now the university will be sending an appeal out to individuals who are at least 69-1/2 years old and need to be cashing out IRA’s. And I believe that last year’s changes to tax law didn’t change this bit about IRA distributions. Giving them to charity is still tax-advantaged, whether or not you itemize.

  5. All of the Giving Tuesday emails in my inbox today were deleted as fast as I could after hitting the unsubscribe links. I’ve was bombarded by spam sales itches all last week and then on Monday. And I gave to a bunch of them in November anyway.

    If only there were a way to give on the basis of not being bothered for another year.

  6. Heck, on Facebook, an acquaintance I followed complained that Trump made a tariff announcement on “Giving Tuesday” resulting in the stock market decline, hit peoples portfolios in a way that would (he assumed) subsequently result in fewer donations to the many, many causes asking for money on “Giving Tuesday”.

    Well… I’m no fan of Trump. But seriously, if the market activities on the specific day a money request is made matters that much to giving, having a whole bunch of groups ask for donations on the same day is foolish. Linking all the requests together would be the charitable groups fault, not Trumps!

  7. Probably a little, but only because it may push someone on the fence about giving reason to go forward.

    Here in Minnesota, we’ve got something called “Give to the Max” day (other states may have it, but I think it’s just a Minnesota deal). There are advertisements about the day leading into it and dozens of solicitations on the day of. The state tracks donations, and they’ve steadily increased, with millions being given.

    Now, I’m sure the vast majority of donations are just displaced donations (i.e., I was planning on giving in December, but I’ll give on that day instead). But the increasing numbers suggests that there’s at least some social pressure to give on that day (even if the majority of those are also displaced donations). But that social pressure is likely to at least shake out some additional amount of money.

    I doubt it does anything for charities that weren’t likely to get donations anyway. But everyone has to ask so they don’t get lost in the mix.

  8. I’m kinda late to the game, just noting the post in today’s digest.

    Giving Tuesday was of course devised to provide a counter-perspective to the crass commercialism of the preceding days. (It echoes the criticism pronounced in “Miracle on 34th Street”, the original version of which I watch each Thanksgiving Day.) It thus has both a practical and a polemic purpose.

    As such it hopefully diverts the attention of the populace to Giving rather than Receiving. Multiple reminders reinforce the polemic purpose.

    Now I suppose that one could establish multiple Giving Days during the year – as they of course ought to be, since most of us receive and have more than we ought – but designating a particular day to remember how fortunate are we and to reciprocate for those less fortunate certainly doesn’t seem inappropriate – albeit even if perhaps sufficiency would consist of more days for this purpose.

  9. The idea is that you will plan ahead to make charitable contributions on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving just as you are supposed to plant to (i) storm Target and Best Buy on Friday; (ii) make purchases at local boutiques on Thursday; and (iii) spend most of Monday making Amazon purchases while “working.”

  10. It worked to get me to contribute to Reason.

  11. I don’t give money to any group that asks me for it. I’ll pick my own, without them begging.

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